Closing in on consumers with location technologies


The development of real-time location technology such as iBeacons is growing quickly and has important implications for publishers.

Not surprisingly perhaps, Apple was the first to launch with the Apple iBeacon. Soon after, Samsung launched its “proximity” service as the “mobile marketing platform that connects consumers in places via context-aware technology.”

The potential of this technology is fairly limitless, but it’s made mainly for retail sales. That’s important for publishers as many of their advertisers are indeed retailers.

If we are to offer creative, bespoke advertising solutions in the future based on Big Data extrapolation, we need to look at what location technology can offer for us so we can offer it in turn to advertisers. We also need to be able to use it and collect valuable data from events we organise ourselves.

So, to understand the technology here, imagine you are in a major department store to purchase a coat. If the department store used location technology via in-store transmitters, upon arrival, the store could tell you not only what coats are currently available, but also what gloves might match and where they can be found in the store.

It might also send you a discount coupon that could be redeemed for 20% off for the next hour, for example, to encourage a purchase.

Up-selling in store no longer needs to be done by the sales people on the ground, because it can be done via a smartphone in the palm of your hand.

Now, imagine offering this service to an advertiser. They would probably bite your hand off for it. Is this a service you can add to a creative solutions package?

The development of this type of technology is making way for a new breed of thinking, driving really effective and collaborative partnerships that want (and deliver) a much deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and engagement.

This potential need not only be applied to department stores, but also within sports stadia, summer music festivals, museums, expos, conferences, and, of course, publisher events allowing sponsors and organisers to influence and engage with their audiences at a level never seen before.

Additionally, this is an opportunity to collect data based on the behaviour witnessed.

The data angle of this technology is requires understanding the actual information location technology generates. Rewarding loyal, frequent customers with bespoke awards offers brands an extended and real asset to target and communicate to specific demographics whether by age, social profile etc.

For example, a relationship with a news media organisation may provide a discount off a subscription to the local newspaper redeemable at a news kiosk in store or a free trial copy of today’s publication.

And of course, the rise (and continued rise!) of the smartphone phenomena makes it all the much easier and, well, smarter!

News media organisations need to take greater ownership in the events and advertiser solutions they support and offer. Data gleaned leads to greater insight into the future and better commercial solutions that ultimately drive sales of both advertisers’ and publishers’ products and services.

This is what is beginning to excite many senior-level marketers round the world today.

We can learn from those marketers who are driven by media content because they know it works for them. However, our own creative solutions shouldn’t be restricted by this alone.

Instead, news media professionals need to start analysing and questioning the real value of the company’s overall goals and ensuring involvement in location technology initiatives drives the common purpose. This would normally include getting closer to readers with more tailored future interactions.

Using location services not only helps news brands do their jobs better, but, more importantly, adds huge value to the customer experience, which is what matters most.

In the future, I believe that it will all be about the experience. Creating a better experience leads to a whole new breed of ambassadors for our brands. Never forget the power of mass endorsement from the people who matter most — our loyal customers.

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